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1. Finances and breast cancer
2. Statutory sick pay
3. Benefits if you have breast cancer
4. Critical illness and breast cancer
5. Blue Badge parking permits
6. Free prescriptions
7. Help with the cost of wigs, bras and prostheses
8. Benefits if you’re caring for someone with breast cancer
9. Where to find information about benefits and financial support
Money concerns, whether permanent or temporary, can be particularly stressful at a time when you feel less able to cope. Many people with breast cancer don’t claim benefits because they’re unaware of what they’re entitled to, are too embarrassed to ask for help, or find the system complicated.
If you’re employed and become sick you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for up to 28 weeks. This will depend on how much you have been earning before becoming ill.
As part of your contract, your employer may also be required to pay occupational sick pay for a number of weeks or months. Check your contract or talk to your Human Resources (HR) department to find out about this.
Find out more about work and breast cancer.
You may be able to claim benefits if you have breast cancer. Several factors will be taken into account, such as your age, income and savings, and how much National Insurance you’ve paid.
Claiming benefits may be the last thing on your mind, but it’s important to apply as soon as you feel able (even if you’re not sure that you’re eligible). This is because many benefits can’t be backdated or can only be backdated for a short period. You may be able to claim some benefits even if you’re already receiving other benefits or income support.
The benefits you can claim will depend on your situation and any benefits you’re already receiving.
You may be able to claim the following benefits if you are diagnosed with breast cancer:
You may be able to claim the following benefits if you’re diagnosed with breast cancer:
The Adult Disability Payment (ADP) replaced the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) from August 2022. People who already receive PIP will not need to apply for the new payment, it will automatically transfer. People who don’t receive PIP will need to apply for the new benefit.
Table explaining the different benefits you may be entitled to if you're diagnosed with breast cancer
You can use a benefits calculator to get an estimate of what benefits and tax credits you could get. Find out more about benefits calculators on the gov.uk website.
Find out more about these benefits on the gov.uk website or using the A-Z benefit guide by Turn2Us.
If you are diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, you may be able to claim some benefits under special rules. These special rules mean that you may be able to access benefits faster, at a higher rate and without a medical assessment.
Many people with secondary breast cancer are entitled to PIP or Attendance Allowance. To claim PIP or Attendance Allowance under the special rules a doctor must complete a DS1500 form and say there is a possibility that a person may not live for longer than six months.
You may also be able to claim Employment Support Allowance and Universal Credit under the special rules. A doctor will need to complete an SR1 form and say there is a possibility that a person may not live for longer than twelve months.
Although no one can accurately predict the progress of the disease, people with secondary breast cancer are often encouraged to claim under these special rules to help their financial security.
In Scotland people diagnosed with secondary breast cancer are entitled to the Adult Disability Payment (ADP). You can apply for the ADP using special rules based on your doctor’s judgement and medical evidence. It is not based on timings.
From 29 August 2022 everyone under state pension age will complete a BASRiS form to apply for these special rules. People over state pension age will continue to complete a DS1500 for now. Your doctor will need to complete these forms for you.
The benefit system can be confusing. For individual guidance and support call Macmillan on 0808 808 00 00. You can also call Citizen’s Advice for support on benefits, debt and finances. Some hospitals also have benefit advisors.
Read more about where to find expert advice and information.
Some insurance policies and employment benefit schemes may cover you for critical illness. Critical illness cover pays out a tax-free lump sum to help with the costs of a critical illness. Breast cancer is usually classed as a critical illness. If you are unsure, check with your insurance provider or HR department.
If you need any help understanding your insurance or critical illness cover, you can call Macmillan’s financial guidance team on 0808 808 00 00.
You may be able to get a Blue Badge if your mobility is affected. You may be given it temporarily if you have primary breast cancer.
People with secondary breast cancer may be eligible for a Blue Badge long-term due to ongoing symptoms such as fatigue or pain. You will need to renew your Blue Badge every three years.
The Blue Badge scheme provides parking concessions for people with severe mobility problems. It can help the holder park close to a destination, whether they are the driver or passenger.
In England and Wales you can apply for a Blue Badge through your local authority and at gov.uk
There are separate websites for applications in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.
Your local Citizens Advice or Macmillan benefits adviser may be able to help you apply for the Blue Badge.
There are alternative badge schemes for people with restricted mobility who are in areas where the Blue Badge scheme doesn’t apply.
People in England being treated for cancer are entitled to all their prescriptions free of charge. To show you’re eligible for free prescriptions you need to apply for an exemption certificate (FP92A) from your GP or treatment team.
The certificate means that you will not have to pay any charges for prescriptions for five years. You can renew your application after five years if you’re still having treatment for:
If you have to pay a prescription charge while you’re still waiting for your exemption certificate, ask the pharmacy for an NHS receipt (FP57) when you pay. You will then be able to get a refund later.
People aged 60 and over do not have to pay NHS prescription charges in England and do not need to apply for the certificate.
In Wales and Northern Ireland and Scotland, prescriptions are free of charge.
Entitlement to NHS wigs varies across the UK. You may be entitled to a free wig or help towards the cost of your wig.
Find out more about help with the cost of your wig. Find out about financial assistance for post-surgery bras and mastectomy bras and breast prostheses.
Depending on their circumstances your carer may be able to claim Carer’s Allowance if you have substantial caring needs. Contact Macmillan to find out about support and benefits that are available to you.
In the first instance, you may find it useful to speak to your employer or HR department, to find out what sick pay you are entitled to. It’s also worth talking to your treatment team, as they may be able to refer you to a welfare adviser at your local hospital (if they have one).
Your local Citizens Advice is also a good place to go for guidance. They can tell you what local government assistance and benefits may be available to you, your family and carers. They can also help you fill out benefit claim forms.
Macmillan Cancer Support offers free financial guidance and support to people with breast cancer. They also produce a booklet Help with the cost of cancer, which includes information on the benefits available for carers, help with housing costs, children’s needs and transport. For more information, speak to the financial guidance team on 0808 808 00 00.
The charity Turn2Us provides practical help to people who are struggling financially. They have a helpful A-Z of benefits on their website.